Chiropractor Accused Of Paralyzing Woman, 27
A Georgia chiropractor was seen trying to flee the state to Flint, Michigan, of all places after a botched procedure resulted in the paralysis of a patient. The patient suffered numerous strokes and heart attacks after four arteries ruptured during a neck-cracking procedure. The complication is a known risk of chiropractic medicine. In medical terms, high-velocity manipulation can lead to arterial dissection resulting in a stroke. The vertebral artery that can rupture is one of four arteries that supply blood to the brain. In the case above, it appears that the chiropractor ruptured all four arteries that supply blood to the brain.
The family is now considering a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor who has yet to reach out to the family, express condolences, or apologize. However, the matter is tricky from the chiropractor’s perspective, and for the plaintiffs, it can be very difficult to prove that a patient acquired the rupture as a result of the adjustment or if the condition was present beforehand and the adjustment only set it off.
The plaintiff had complained of lower back pain after her exams. She sought chiropractic treatment and saw the chiropractor twice before she was severely injured.
Understanding chiropractic malpractice
Dissection of arteries funneling blood to the brain is a known complication related to chiropractic services. Often, patients who suffer from this complication will reveal that they have pain, numbness, or weakness on one side of the body. Further complicating the matter, arterial dissection can take weeks to become problematic. Patients do better if they seek treatment immediately after experiencing symptoms. In other cases, the dissection occurs immediately and the patient must be rushed to the hospital, as happened here. For the chiropractor, it can be difficult to tell if the patient had a stroke or if they’re just in shock over the sound of their neck making a cracking noise. Patients who receive treatment within the first 4.5 hours of the dissection have the best prognosis.
For plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits, there is no way to prove that neck dissection did not occur prior to the adjustment. Distress to the arteries could be made much worse by the adjustment and essentially, “set off” this type of reaction. If the plaintiff was in a car accident, a sports accident, or something else, that can result in arterial dissection. Statistics on how often arterial dissection occurs as a result of chiropractic treatment are difficult to come by. However, most individuals seek chiropractors out because they are cheaper than other doctors. If chiropractors have to perform MRIs before every treatment, the cost of care will skyrocket.
The bottom line is that chiropractic medical malpractice is very difficult to prove and it isn’t necessarily true that just because the patient suffered a complication, the chiropractor violated the standard of care for the field.
Talk to an Atlanta, GA Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
The Moses Law Firm represents the interests of patients injured by the negligent practice of medicine. Call our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin discussing your case immediately.